A renowned professor raised in Hartlepool is set for a trip to Buckingham Palace today as she is awarded an MBE.
Professor Jane Nixon, who is deputy director of the Leeds Clinical Trials Research Unit, is being made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for ground breaking health research.
Despite now living in Leeds, Prof Nixon’s roots remain firmly embedded in Hartlepool, having grown up on the Headland with parents Geoff and Margaret Bridel who ran a manufacturing company, Sleepmaker Ltd, for over 20 years in the town.
She began her career as a nurse at Hartlepool General Hospital and to this day still talks of the fact that her interest in health research was inspired by colleagues who set such a high standard in nursing care in her early days of nursing.
Prof Nixon fondly remembers Margaret Vasey, a matron at Hartlepool, who led major change and an environment of improvement in nursing care, Rosemary Bullmer who was an inspirational nurse tutor, Val Rhind a senior nurse manager who was a great influence and Roger Kirby, general surgeon who supported Jane in her early research career.
She remains friends today with Jan McVitie and Janet Baggett who worked as part of a fantastic theatre team at Cameron Hospital.
It was during these early days in nursing that as a ward sister in Hartlepool, working with older patients, she noticed some patients who went to the operating theatre would return to the ward with painful skin ulcers.
She gained a Masters in 1996 and PhD in 2001 whilst a senior nurse in the NHS, and moved to the University of Leeds and became deputy director of the Clinical Trials Research Unit in 2002.
From the start, Prof Nixon’s research has been driven by challenging conventional thinking to improve the wellbeing of patients and looking at ways of reducing the risk of patients developing pressure ulcers while in hospital.
Since those early days, she has created a long-standing career in clinical trials research, first as an NHS-based chief investigator and since 2002 as deputy director of the Clinical Trials Research Unit.
During her career Prof Nixon has secured over £5million in research funding for multiple pressure ulcer prevention research trials and projects.
Her work has provided the foundation for practice change in critical areas such as patient safety, serious incident investigation and patient management.
She said: “I am delighted and honoured that my work is being recognised in such a prestigious way in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.”